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Northern Knights Under 13's win Charlie Beverland Memorial Cup

Roger Bell  

Belfast captain Rory Ellerby receives the Charlie Beverland Memorial Cup from Tim Hart Cricket Scotland's Western Region Development ManagerNorthern Knights Under 13's representing Belfast won this year's West of Scotland Triangular Tournament, with wins over Edinburgh and Glasgow at Prestwick CC seeing them bring home the Charlie Beverland Memorial Cup for the first time since 2013.

The tournament is traditionally for the Under 14 age group, but this year it was changed to Under 13, and hosts Glasgow, and holders for the last three years Edinburgh, got it underway on Monday morning. In a surprise result, Glasgow needed only 15 of their 30 overs to overhaul Edinburgh's disappointing total of 59.

Belfast then met Edinburgh on Monday afternoon with the East of Scotland team needing a win to have any chance of retaining the trophy. Belfast won the toss and invited Edinburgh to bat, and they fared much better on this occasion scoring what appeared to be a competitive total of 152 for 9 off their 30 overs. After Finn Lutton took 2 early wickets, spinners Harry Dyer and David Kane both bowled tidy spells in the middle of the innings, with Kane picking up 3 wickets and Dyer 2.

In reply a brilliant opening partnership between Ryan Hunter and Sam Topping made light work of what had seemed a challenging total. In the space of 22 overs, they shared in a stand of 146 runs, both completing their fifties before they had to retire under the competition rules. Belfast lost one wicket before they overhauled the Edinburgh total in the 24th over to complete a very comfortable victory.

On Tuesday morning the remaining match between Belfast and Glasgow was effectively the final, with both teams having won on the opening day. Belfast again won the toss, and on this occasion decided to bat first. Openers Hunter and Topping again started well taking 32 runs off the first 8 overs before Topping was caught at square leg for 19. A couple more wickets fell as the score passed the fifty mark in the 13th over. Skipper Rory Ellerby joined Hunter at the wicket, and this pair provided the best partnership of the innings, adding 65 runs in 8 overs.

Hunter's second good innings of the tournament came to an end when he was lbw for 35 in the 21st over with the total on 118. In the next over Ellerby completed a superb fifty off only 34 balls with 9 boundaries, but when he had to retire two new batsmen were at the crease and the innings lost its way. In the next 8 overs Belfast lost a 4 further wickets for the addition of only 20 runs. However, a flourish at the very end from George Palmer, which saw 15 runs come off the 30th and final over was to prove crucial at the end of the day.

After Mohammed Aahil took an early wicket, the Glasgow second wicket pair added 41 runs, but some accurate bowling saw them fall well behind the required run rate. Ryan Matthews, who conceded only 8 runs from his 4 overs was rewarded with a second wicket for Belfast. However, the new Glasgow batsman went on the offensive, and they were getting the 8 runs an over they now needed, on a regular basis.

Carson McCullough achieved the vital breakthrough in the 28th over, and completed a wicket maiden against the incoming batsman, which then left Glasgow needing 28 off the final two overs. They made a good effort, scoring 19, but Belfast completed a good win by a narrow 8 run margin to lift the trophy.

Manager Roger Bell said "This squad is definitely one of the strongest we have had in the competition in recent years, with some outstanding young prospects. Full credit goes to Callum and the other coaches who have been working with them during the past 12 months. They are also a great bunch of lads who work hard for one another on the field, and get on well together off the field. I would also like to thank the parents who came over to support us, which was very much appreciated"

Scores
Edinburgh 152/9 (David Kane 3-17, Finn Lutton 2-20, Harry Dyer 2-27) lost to Belfast 153/1 (Ryan Hunter 50 retired, Sam Topping 50 retired) by 9 wickets

Belfast 157/8 (Rory Ellerby 50 retired, Ryan Hunter 35, George Palmer 22 not out) beat Glasgow 149/3 by 8 runs

Belfast Squad
Rory Ellerby (Instonians; captain), Mohammed Aahil (CSNI), Tom Crothers (Instonians), Harry Dyer (CSNI), Ryan Hunter (CSNI), David Kane (Templepatrick), Adam Leckey (CSNI), Finn Lutton (Templepatrick), Ryan Matthews (Donaghcloney Mill), Carson McCullough (CIYMS), George Palmer (Instonians), Sam Topping (Waringstown), Manager: Roger Bell, Coach: Callum Atkinson

Belfast Under 13's winning squad with the trophy